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Public Statements

Letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


KENNEDY, COLLEAGUES URGE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO INCLUDE LOW INCOME HOME HEATING FUNDS IN BUDGET

Today Senator Edward M. Kennedy and colleagues sent a letter to Director Portman urging the Administration to include 5.1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the President's Fiscal Year 2008 budget request.

Senator Kennedy said, "Time after time, the Administration and the Republican Congress have failed to provide real security to low income families, the elderly and the disabled who face high heating costs during the cold winter months. Its long past time to stop making excuses and start acknowledging the needs of our most vulnerable citizens. Its essential that the President include full funding for LIHEAP in his 2008 budget request."

November 21, 2006

The Honorable Rob Portman
Director, Office of Management and Budget
Old Executive Office Building
Washington, DC 20503

Dear Director Portman:

As you prepare the President's fiscal year 2008 budget request, we urge you to support a funding level of $5.1 billion, the full amount authorized, for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Many Americans are struggling under the burden of this year's energy prices, which remain high by historical standards. High energy prices are especially difficult on low-income households, particularly those that include elderly residents, the disabled, and children. These groups are typically most vulnerable to rising energy costs and too often must choose between paying their energy bills or buying food and medicine.

LIHEAP protects public health and safety by helping low-income families stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In addition, the program helps low-income homeowners weatherize their homes to save energy and lower their energy burden. Weatherization, on average, reduces heating bills by 31 percent and overall energy bills by $200 to $250 per year.

In fiscal year 2006, LIHEAP appropriations totaled $3.161 billion, the largest amount ever appropriated for the program. Even at this level, however, many low-income households eligible for LIHEAP still did not receive assistance. Unfortunately, funding levels for the program have not kept pace with the growing number of households eligible for assistance. In fact, at current funding levels, LIHEAP now serves only 15 percent of the eligible population.

With so many American households still in need of the assistance, and with an expected rise in home energy prices, we believe increased LIHEAP funding should be a top priority your fiscal year 2008 budget. Your support for $5.1 billion in LIHEAP funding in the fiscal year 2008 budget process would help many more low-income households receive much needed LIHEAP assistance in the coming year.

Sincerely,
_____________________________ ____________________________
Susan M. Collins Jack Reed
_____________________________ ____________________________
Tom Harkin Arlen Specter
_____________________________ ____________________________
Edward M. Kennedy Olympia J. Snowe
_____________________________ ____________________________
Patrick J. Leahy George V. Voinovich
_____________________________ ____________________________
Frank R. Lautenberg Richard G. Lugar
_____________________________ ____________________________
Herb Kohl Norm Coleman
_____________________________ ____________________________
Richard Durbin Gordon H. Smith
_____________________________ ____________________________
Mary L. Landrieu John F. Kerry
_____________________________ ____________________________
Hillary Rodham Clinton Joseph I. Lieberman
_____________________________ ____________________________
Barack Obama Robert Menendez
_____________________________ ____________________________
Paul S. Sarbanes Debbie Stabenow
_____________________________ ____________________________
Evan Bayh Christopher J. Dodd
_____________________________ ____________________________
Charles E. Schumer Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
_____________________________ ____________________________
Carl Levin Maria Cantwell
_____________________________ ____________________________
Barbara A. Mikulski Jeff Bingaman
_____________________________ ____________________________
Patty Murray Ken Salazar
_____________________________ ____________________________
Ron Wyden John D. Rockefeller, IV
_____________________________ ____________________________
Max Baucus Blanch L. Lincoln

http://kennedy.senate.gov/newsroom/press_release.cfm?id=bbd87f34-4626-4e99-97fe-b83e1d58c442

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